Friday, 15 November 2002  
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Commercial Forestry project at Haldumulla with people's participation - Minister Lokubandara

A Commercial Forestry project will be launched on 200 hectares at Soragune in Haldummulla shortly with the active participation of the people, said Buddhasasana, Justice, Law Reform and National Integration Minister W. J. M. Lokubandara.

The project envisaged under the Upper Watershed Management Programme will entail the allocation of an acre to each person with full title to grow Mahogany and Jak for commercial use.

He said the growers would be granted assistance towards tending and maintaining the trees and once the trees mature they could cut and sell them to derive an income.

The Minister was addressing a meeting held at Soragune Viharaya, Haldummulla on Monday, November 11.

The Minister said the jak tree which provided valuable food for the people particularly in the rural sector was known as the Bath Gasa in the past. It was the duty of the people to look after the jak tree with motherly care. Steps would be taken to plant jak in Nindagam land belonging to the Soragune Devalaya, too.

Director, Upper Watershed Management Project D. P. Munaweera said this project is being launched with foreign aid to protect the environment which had suffered severe degradation in the past.

He said 1,500 trees could be planted on each hectare and thereafter 400 trees could be felled every 8 years in rotation for commercial use. The growers will be entitled to 80 percent of the sale proceeds and the balance 20 percent will accrue to the Government. Commissioner of Buddhist Affairs H. W. D. Sunil was also present on the occasion.

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